Tuesday Guest Tickle: Claimed By Love by Skye Jones
Okay, so this one isn’t strictly MM, but Skye’s in my crit group and her characters are really well drawn.
Liquid Silver Books
What’s it about?
Kayley Edwards has spent the last four years closing herself off after a vicious attack by her lover left her scarred and terrified. After fleeing her native Alaska, she ran the length of the country and began a new life in Miami far from her family and friends.
When her cousin and his friends decide to vacation nearby, he invites her to join them, saying he has important news. Determined not to let fear rule her life, Kayley agrees to meet with them, only to have her world turned upside down. His friends include the two gorgeous men who’ve haunted her dreams for months, kindling her desire, and challenging her to take a chance on love.
Pack alpha, Luke Johnson, has sensed Kayley in his visions for years. He and his mate, Sean Wallace, know she is meant to be theirs. But how will she react when she finds out the world they inhabit is one she never dreamed existed? As passions collide, Sean finds himself acting as a bridge between his strong willed alpha and a skittish Kayley. But can they break through Kayley’s defenses and convince her to join their family?
Just as it seems the three may have a future together, a ghost from Sean’s past strikes at the heart of their happiness. They must fight for everything they hold dear to win their chance at love.
A Sneak Peek…
Chapter One. Part one.
It might not be Carnegie Hall but the acoustics still rocked. Kayley sang with gusto as her voice resonated off the bathroom walls, the thunder of the shower spray providing a dramatic backdrop. Soap ran in rivulets over her newest tattoo, playing hide and seek with the ink. Falling silent, she admired the twist of roses climbing her wrist in delicate strands. From afar it looked like an old-fashioned gothic bracelet, but up close you could make out the individual stems and tiny, deep red roses. It matched her style, and in the past it would have matched her dark mood. These days her emotions tended to be a little brighter, a little less despairing. Thanks to copious therapy and years of medication.
As she peered at the tattoo, the memory of her dream from the night before snuck up on her again, firing up synapses and sending flashes of arousal skittering through her. The sensation of getting turned on was still so new it caught her off guard.
Four years on antidepressants may have saved her life, but they’d done a number on her libido. Since finally being able to stop the medication two months ago, her sex drive had kicked in again. Night after torturous night, disturbingly vivid, erotic dreams tormented her. They always featured the same two men and they always left her wide-awake, aroused as hell, but unable to come. Not even when using the new, state of the art, vibrator she’d ordered online.
As hot water beat down on the back of her neck, she leaned her forehead against the cool tiles and let last night’s dream wash over her again. The image of the two men burned bright behind her closed lids, both tall, both handsome, one blond and one dark. They’d taken one another in a fevered sixty-nine while she watched, aching with desire. She never got to touch, to taste, only to watch. As with all other encounters with her dream men, she remained a perpetual voyeur, always on the edge. It scared her. It elated her. Why the same men? Over and over and over again.
Tentatively, she trailed a hand down her stomach, ignoring the jagged scar that began there, until she found her already slick folds. A moment’s hesitation gave way to pure need as, with a breathy sigh, she slipped a finger inside and let her thumb trail over her sensitive clit. A shiver tore through her, despite the steamy warmth of the shower room.
All she yearned for was a moment of pure release, the sweet oblivion as she flew and soared, riding a wave of bliss, her worries and cares forgotten. Yet again it eluded her, stretching her aching need to almost unbearable levels.
The water ran cold as with a soft moan she pulled her hand free and tried to ignore the tears stinging her eyes. Perhaps she wanted it too much? Put too much pressure on herself and should back off?
Kayley stepped out of the shower and dried herself off, frustration and nerves making her movements brisk. In a few hours, her cousin would be expecting her for the weekend. It would be the first time she’d seen any of her family in four years, and the excitement couldn’t quite calm her growing anxiety at the thought of why Will would visit out of the blue.
She’d missed a couple of calls from him the day before, only to find his cell off when trying to call back. She’d checked her e-mails in the evening and seen a brief message from Will telling her he was coming to visit. He wrote that they needed to talk. He’d be renting a place with some friends up the coast. Talk about mysterious!
With a sigh, she stepped out of the steamy bathroom and walked down the hallway to the bedroom.
The morning sun streamed in through the window as she dressed, the bright rays bouncing off her latest series of paintings, currently adorning her walls but soon to be put up for sale. Distracted from her worries, she looked them over with an ever-critical eye. Kayley’s work mostly consisted of landscapes of her native Alaska and many of the pieces featured wolves, a creature she’d been fascinated with since childhood. One of the paintings snagged her attention. It featured a lone, silver wolf bathed in moonlight, its startling blue eyes reaching out from the canvas. For some reason, she came back to the drawing over and over again.
“Looking good.” Her roommate’s voice startled her. Adam lounged against her bedroom door, watching her. Kayley gave him a smile as she sat at her dresser and twisted her neck side to side, working out the kinks.
Adam used to pass by her apartment and would often stop to talk as she painted on the stoop. Despite her past, Kayley felt safe with Adam from day one. She’d learned he worked as a tattoo artist and counted himself a major art freak, too. They’d gradually become solid friends. She’d ended up working with him, and eventually they’d moved in together, sharing the rent.
“Looking good, feeling worried.” She tried to smile, her muscles tight. “I’ve been a nervous wreck since Will’s e-mail. It’s pretty weird. I mean, he says he wants to talk but then why bring that bunch of roughnecks he works with?”
“Sweetheart,” Adam laughed, “you don’t know they’re roughnecks.” He made quotation marks with his fingers. “You’ve never met them.”
“A bunch of bounty hunters? I imagine they are kind of rough, but the point is, why bring them? What if it’s to do with Dane?”
Her throat closed, making it hard to breathe. Kayley’s biggest fear had always been her ex-boyfriend, Dane, finding her, coming after her, finishing the job he’d started four years ago when he’d almost killed her.
“I think it’s going to be good news, whatever it is. If you were in any sort of danger, Will would have told you straight out in his e-mail.”
“I still don’t get why he brought his colleagues if he wants to have a serious talk with me?” Kayley knew her voice grew petulant, but her anxiety at meeting Will’s friends wouldn’t abate. Since the attack, she didn’t do well with strangers and the idea of spending a weekend with people who hunted down criminals for a living scared the crap out of her.
Adam came to stand by her and placed warm hands on her shoulders. “Babe, what’s to fear? They are his friends. If Will likes them, they’ll be cool. They might be hot, too. Hot, sexy bounty hunters! I’m jealous, wish I’d gotten an invite.”
“They could be as hot as the surface of the sun and it wouldn’t do me any good. Bits don’t work properly, remember?” Anxiety made her bitchy.
“Ah, that’ll work itself out. You’ll be fine, trust me. Antidepressants are known to affect your libido. My friend Johnny couldn’t come for the whole two years he was on Prozac. Straight up. Now he’s fucking like a bunny rabbit. Rampant!”
“Wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the damned dreams night after night.”
“Dreams?” Adam let go of her shoulders and moved to sit on her bed, long legs crossed under him, his dark brows raised.
Kayley sighed. She might as well spill. He wouldn’t give up now she’d blurted it out. “I’ve been having really intense dreams since I came off the meds. They started when I tapered the dose but unlike all the other side effects of coming off they’ve gotten worse since I stopped completely.” She bit her lip and looked down at the floor. So far she’d kept her nocturnal visitors to herself. With a deep breath, she spilled her guts.
“Every night I dream about two men having sex. It’s odd because it’s always the same two guys. One’s blond and one’s dark, a walking cliché right? Last night they gave one another blowjobs.”
“And you’re complaining because?” Adam asked with a smirk. “I’d pay good money to have night time adventures where gorgeous men entertain me.”
“It’s like torture, Adam. I wake up all sexed up from these incredible dreams with these two…sex gods, putting on the show of a lifetime and…nothing, nada. I still can’t come and yes, I’ve watched one of your porn films, and yes, I bought a vibrator. Nothing works. Plus, dreaming about the same men every night creeps me out.”
She didn’t add how she worried her inability to orgasm was about far more than medication withdrawal. Deep down, Kayley feared men now, saw them as dangerous, her few male friends and relatives the rare exception. She’d not been remotely interested in a relationship for the last four years and couldn’t see things changing anytime soon. She also viewed her own body as flawed, her scars a reminder of the battle to survive. Sensuality was hard to come by in those circumstances.
“Give it time, gorgeous.” Adam shot her a blinding grin. “You’ve not been off the antidepressants very long and your body needs some time to get back to normal. It’ll come back, trust me on this. God wouldn’t have given you such a hot bod if he didn’t intend for you to get some joy from it.” He paused then and pursed his lips. “Your dream always featuring the same two men though…that is a tad strange, maybe—”
The buzz of her cell jolted Kayley out of the conversation, and she pulled it free of her purse with a frown. Will’s picture lit up the screen. With trembling fingers, she pressed send and picked up the call.
“Has he found me?” She didn’t bother with the pleasantries.
“What? No.” Her cousin’s familiar voice rang out loudly, and she knew Adam would be able to hear. “I’ve got news. Huge news. It’s why I’m here, why I asked you to come over tonight. I thought you deserved to be told in person, but you’re in no danger. Don’t you think I’d have told you straight away if you were?” His words echoed Adam’s from moments ago, and guilt at not trusting her cousin flared in her gut.
“God, I can’t wait to see you, Kiki.” Will’s use of the familiar childhood name soothed her jangled nerves. “This place is incredible. I put the second best room aside for you. Sean nabbed the best for him and Luke, and you can’t argue with the bosses.”
“Sorry?” She thought she’d misheard. She’d read from Will’s e-mails that Luke was the guy in charge, and Sean a member of the team, along with Will and two others, Julie and Taylor.
“Sean and Luke are a couple, and Sean grabbed the best room before I could put dibs on it for you,” he chuckled. “Listen, I know you’re nervous about meeting everybody but you’ll love them, I swear. Julie can’t wait to meet you. She says it will be lovely to have some female company for a change and you’ll like Sean, he’s so laid back and easy going.”
Her nerves relaxed another notch at the warmth in Will’s voice as he spoke of his friends.
“Bring some beach clothes, we’ve got a pool, and a Jacuzzi, and the beach is at the end of the garden, but…if you’re really not comfortable coming over here, I’ll come to you. I can be there in a couple of hours.”
“No.” Her mind made up, she stood, pushing the stool away from the dresser. “I’ll come to you. I’ve packed a weekend bag and if I do find myself getting anxious, I can always go to my room, right? Have some breathing space?”
“Of course you can.” Will understood her anxiety and its source all too well.
“I’ll be there in a couple of hours. I really can’t wait to see you.” She ended the call and looked over to Adam, her hands slick on the phone as she dropped it back onto the dresser.
“Finish gussying yourself up and get over there.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead as he stood. “I’ll make you a cuppa while you finish your makeup.”
She smiled at his use of the Britishism. Her father had been English and she’d used certain British turns of phrase all her life, despite losing him at the age of twelve, and now Adam had picked them up, too.
“Or I could just pour you a shot of vodka?” he added.
“God, no. Tea will be fine. If I start drinking now, I won’t want to stop.”
He gave a mock salute and sauntered out of the room.
Stomach churning with equal measures of nerves and excitement, Kayley turned to her mirror to finish getting ready.
Who is this Skye Jones person, anyway?
Skye Jones is an erotic romance author who loves a tortured hero. Her first story was about a talking hobby horse, but now she’s moved on and likes to write about that moment when lust and love meet head on.